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Unusual Events Involved in Banana bunchy top virus Strain Evolution

July 2009 , Volume 99 , Number  7
Pages  812 - 822

Hui-Chuan Fu, Jer-Ming Hu, Ting-Hsuan Hung, Hong-Ji Su, and Hsin-Hung Yeh

First, third, fourth, and fifth authors; Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, second author: Institute of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and fifth author: Research Center for Plant Medicine, College of Agriculture, National Taiwan University, 1, Sec 4, Roosevelt Road, Taipei 106, Taiwan.

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Accepted for publication 7 March 2009.

Banana bunchy top virus (BBTV) can be transmitted by aphids and consists of at least six integral components (DNA-R, -U3, -S, -M, -C, and -N). Several additional replication-competent components (additional Reps) are associated with some BBTV isolates. A collected BBTV strain (TW3) that causes mild symptoms was selected to study the processes in BBTV evolution. Southern blot hybridization, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and real-time PCR did not detect DNA-N in TW3. Real-time PCR quantification of BBTV components revealed that, except for the copy number of TW3 DNA-U3, each detected integral component of BBTV TW3 was at least two orders lower than that of the severe strains. No infection was observed in plants inoculated with aphids, which were first given acquisition access to the TW3-infected banana leaves. Recombination analysis revealed recombination between the integral component TW3 DNA-U3 and the additional Rep DNA-Y. All BBTV integral components contain a replication initiation region (stem-loop common region) that share high sequence identity. Sequence alignment revealed that TW3 DNA-R, -S, -M, and -C all have a stem-loop common region containing a characteristic 9-nucleotide deletion found only in all reported DNA-N. Our data suggest that the additional Rep DNAs can serve as sources of additional genetic diversity for integral BBTV components.

© 2009 The American Phytopathological Society